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Please Speak Up About the Plan B Decision!

It was probably obvious yesterday that we earnestly thought the FDA might finally turn around a longtime decision, one largely against all advice, information and recommendations from sexual, reproductive and adolescent health and rights experts and advocates, when it came to unfounded restrictions long put on teen access to Plan B.

And that was going to actually happen. The FDA was on board this time around and made the decision to ditch those restrictions. People under 17 were finally going to have the same kind of access to a safe, important kind of contraception those over 17 had, a kind of access there is simply no sound reason to restrict.

And yet.

In what Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check so rightfully said can, "only be called an astounding move by an Administration that pledged on inauguration day that medical and health decisions would be based on fact not ideology and for which women are a major constituency, today Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Healt

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Ready for arguments about increasing your access to Plan B? We can help.

You may have heard that the FDA may finally remove age restrictions for the morning-after emergency contraception pill in the United States. If you've heard that, you may have started to hear some panic or fear-factoring, not just gratitude and relief.

Currently, in the United States, someone must be over the age of 17 in order to get Plan B at a pharmacy without a prescription. Until two years ago, the age limit was 18. It's still kept behind the pharmacy counter for people of all ages, but those over 17 do not need a prescription from a doctor or a clinic to purchase it.

For a long time now, organizations like ours and many, many other reproductive choice, justice and health organizations, have been lobbying to remove that age restriction, something other nations -- like Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Israel and others -- do not apply; a restriction which has never been supported by sound health data. The restriction per age has long been about politics, not health.

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Of SlutWalks, Perfect Storms and Getting Out of the Way

From SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!From SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!On Monday, I talked about some of my own life, and the central, very personal, issue which kept me from attending one of the SlutWalks, an issue which also central to the walks themselves. On Tuesday, I brought up what appears to be a clear misrepresentation by the media, especially visually, of the walks. In both pieces, I expressed unwavering support for the walks.

While I did not agree with a good deal of it, I appreciated Rebecca Traister writing in the New York Times magazine last week.

But at a moment when questions of sex and power, blame and credibility, and gender and justice are so ubiquitous and so urgent, I have mostly felt irritation that stripping down to skivvies and calling ourselves sluts is passing for keen retort.

To object to these ugly characterizations is right and righteous. But to do so while dressed in what look like sexy stewardess Halloween costumes seems less like victory than capitulation (linguistic and sartorial)

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How can I keep from getting upset when he ignores my no?

Elizabeth1 asks:

I'm 15 and my bf told me about a week ago that he thought I should be loosing my virginity and a few days ago I did. I was ok with this and only said once that if it was ok with him I'd like to stop (the way he was looking at me was creeping me out), but it wasn't ok with him so he kept going. Afterwards I really creeped out and for some reason I started crying all over the place, which I can't explain. He doesn't get this either and got really upset about it. I wanna make things back up with him so I've said that we can try again and that I wont react so badly. Is there anyway I can calm down enough so that I don't upset him again by freakin out? Hope you can help xxx

How can I stop feeling so guilty?

chechelle asks:

I am 23. I started having sex with my boyfriend of 7 months at age 17. I was raised Christian, have stayed in the church until now but am seriously questioning what I believe. Ever since I first started having sex I have never been completely ok with it, always wondering whether I was doing something wrong or whether it was even ok. I would often feel extremely guilty once I reached the point of orgasm because it was like that was the time that I realized that I had given in to my desires and have done something wrong-again. (I had/have these same guilt feelings whenever I masturbate which I remember from age 12.) After the high school boyfriend I had sex with someone else a few years later but that one doesn't affect me nearly as much. A few years after that I met my now spouse. We started having sex after a few months and I always questioned whether what we were doing was ok or not, but I still wanted sex and I still enjoyed it. We got married a year ago and now I just cant enjoy sex at all. I just don't want to. When we do have sex it does feel good but not great and I feel like I am being punished for having sex before marriage. I also had a lot of pain starting close to when we got married and I eventually learned I had trich. So I don't know if I am now terrified of that happening again too? (even though we were both treated and I am supposedly cured) I have a great partner: he isn't pressuring me to get better and really wants me to be truly wanting sex otherwise he doesn't want it either. But I know he is getting anxious. How can I let go of the guilt that I have had for half my life? How can I enjoy sex again? What is wrong with me? I've discussed the spirituality aspects with several ministers and none of them think God is punishing me or that I have done anything wrong. I am also currently in counseling and we have talked at length about this sex issue and she is stumped too. I am ready to let go of this and move on but I just can't. Where should I go from here? Or should I just realize that there is no more sex in this life for me?

Why I Escort

I am a volunteer abortion clinic escort. This means I am there to walk with women coming into the abortion clinic. It's usually no more than a minute's walk from their cars to the front door of the clinic. Under normal circumstances, my help would hardly be needed. Except the circumstances outside an abortion clinic are rarely "normal."

Is it really illegal to sell me condoms?

ADistantPlanet asks:

This may be a bit of a strange question, but my attempts at researching this question have yielded very few results. I'm 16 years old, and the other day, I went into a gas station near my home in Michigan to buy some condoms. I'm on the Pill, but I use condoms every time with my boyfriend due to my paranoia of pregnancy. When I brought the condoms to the counter, the woman behind it informed me that there is a law that forbids the selling of condoms to those under 18. This didn't really sound plausible to me, considering that the age of consent in Michigan is 16 and it would be rather counterproductive to ban condoms for 2 years, however, the woman vehemently refused to sell them to me. Is there any sort of law (in Michigan or a national law) that forbids stores from selling condoms (or pregnancy tests, etc.) to minors?

International Map of Abortion Law

The Center for Reproductive Rights provides this in-depth map of abortion laws around the world.

Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Three Words Most Likely to Make My Blood Boil

I hate, hate, hate that phrase. Nearly everywhere I go or look as a young adult sexuality educator anymore, I run into it incessantly.

Let me be clear: I don't hate doing all that we can, to help people of every age to avoid pregnancies or parenting they do not want or do not feel ready for. I'm so glad to do that, and it's a big part of my job at Scarleteen and elsewhere when I work as a sexuality and contraception educator and activist.

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How do I deal with the results of a medical trauma or abuse?

malia asks:

Hi, I'm sixteen and about four months ago I was treated at the hospital for severe anemia due to over excessive menstruation. While I was there, I had to have a pelvic exam done, and I'm already really shy, and I've never been touched like that or even have had a boyfriend. So the doctor (who was a man) was about to do it, but I was so scared he had to physically spread my legs apart. Then he put the speculum in and did whatever, but he had to push through the hymen, and it hurt pretty badly. It seemed like he didn't care at all how I was doing, or anything. Now I cringe when people mention sex or anything like it because it reminds me of him and the pain and embarrassment. How am I ever going to trust a man enough again to let him get close, and how can I block this event out of my head?

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